Deputy Director of MIS and Planning

Deputy Director of MIS and Planning

Our client is a northern-based City-Region FE College who was seeking to strengthen its MIS and Planning function with two strategic investment posts.

We used our extensive experience to search and find a Deputy Director of MIS and Planning and a specialist Data Analyst. Our search work took as beyond the traditional FE sector organisations, producing strong candidate fields from education, regulated industries, local government and utilities. The Credo personality profiling assessment, available from Tests Direct, was used to assess shortlisted candidates for the Deputy Director position and this provided valuable insight into the candidate selection process. We worked with the Client to tailor the selection process so that it could explore in more detail the strengths and development opportunities of candidates in addition to their professional behaviours.  All candidates received constructive feedback from the selection process, which included a debrief on their personality profiling. This increased their self-awareness and supported their personal development as they continued to take their next career steps.

Throughout the recruitment, selection and on-boarding process, our consultants remained in regular contact with both client and candidates. They ensured that positive profiling of the Client’s brand was maintained throughout the recruitment process and that transition support was available to the appointees.

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.


Leadership Development Programme

Delivering a strategically aligned leadership development programme for Birmingham City University

Over the last three years we have supported Birmingham City University with a high profile and strategically aligned leadership development programme. The purpose of this programme was to support leaders from across the University to develop their leadership skills to foster a high performance, student centred culture which supports the University deliver its strategic plan. This programme has included 350 leaders, from Heads of Department level through to the Vice Chancellor across academic and professional services leaders. We have delivered a one-day programme for operational leaders (250 leaders) and a two-day programme for strategic leaders (100 senior leaders across the University, including executive group).  

These programmes were aligned to Birmingham City University’s 2020 strategy and reflected key feedback from the University’s employee engagement survey. Ensuring that the student was at the heart of the programme was critical, and so a representative group of students from across the University (including the Student President) were involved in the design and delivery of the programme. For instance, a student feedback video was developed which included feedback from students from across the University’s three campuses. This video then formed the basis of the first exercise completed at the centre, where delegates watched the video and then explored what action they would seek to take from this data. Students then attended the delegate presentation and provided feedback on their recommendations. Furthermore, ‘student champions’ were nominated from each cohort to lead on the implementation of the actions identified, liaising directly with the students who had attended the programme. This was extremely well received by students. 

All delegates completed a carefully selected range of pre-work ahead of attending the programme. This included the personality questionnaire Credo which was focused on identifying leadership traits and enhancing self-awareness. A self-reflection form and pre-reading around such topics as ‘leading through change’, ‘building high performing teams’ and ‘managing difficult conversations’ was also included. Additionally, strategic leaders completed a 360-degree feedback process aligned to Birmingham City University’s values and competency framework. At the centre, candidates completed a range of highly interactive exercises aligned to their pre-work. They had the opportunity to gain immediate feedback both from their dedicated Wickland Westcott coach and from colleagues to support the learning process. This approach therefore encouraged delegates to apply their learning in action and practice giving and receiving feedback.  

Cohorts were mixed across both academic and professional services departments to support the opportunity for networking and the sharing of transferrable skills. The use of a guest speaker (from a different sector) provided insights regarding leading in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment. Finally, following the event, strategic leaders received a detailed feedback report tailored to Birmingham City University’s values, written by their Wickland Westcott coach and received additional coaching support.   

Return on investment has been measured through the completion of a ‘pulse survey’ and focus groups with delegates and line managers. Here we have explored what delegates have done differently since attending the programme and how this has helped the University achieve its strategic objectives. This review has identified that since the programme there has been a greater emphasis on the student experience, more communication and engagement across the institution, an increased focus on activities aligned to strategic priorities and an increased effort and courage from delegates to ‘step up’ and get involved in more senior level activities and drive for results. Additionally, delegates’ self-awareness and confidence has significantly increased, along with people having a greater awareness of what ‘good’ leadership looks like. Further tangible outputs from the programme have included local increases in NSS and league table results and the securing of additional funding to support strategic projects. 

Beyond this programme, our longstanding relationship with the University continues. For instance, supporting them in delivering their annual Leadership Conference, working with the University Executive Group and various divisional departments in delivering specific, strategically aligned objectives. 

Michelle Usher, Organisational Development and Learning Manager at Birmingham City University commented:

"Working with Wickland Westcott enabled us to deliver a strategically aligned programme that focused on enhancing key leadership skills for our strategic and operational leaders, up to and including executive level. A key focus of this programme was to ‘hold the mirror up’ both organisationally and individually – listening to our students’ experience of Birmingham City University, raising awareness of personal leadership style and impact and instilling cultural values. Wickland Westcott’s professional delivery approach enabled our leaders to immerse themselves in dealing with ‘real time’ leadership challenges, whilst getting in the moment coaching and reflection time to enhance confidence and competence. Follow up coaching aligned to individual development plans created from centre observations and diagnostics has enabled our leaders to really focus in on the areas they and their managers have identified as priorities. Follow up pulse surveys 6-12 months post attendance has enabled us to track progression and impact of the programme, triangulated both by the participant, line manager and peers. This has revealed significant shifts in leadership confidence in handling change and people management issues. A number of student improvement and engagement initiatives have been instigated directly attributable to ideas formed during the programme and continued alliance to learning sets post programme to help solve local and University wide service improvements. Nearly a quarter of those who have attended the programme have progressed to taking on more senior level roles since attending, enhancing career development and supporting succession planning."

Please email us at education@wickland-westcott.email for any general enquiries. If you would like to discuss further our Leadership Development Programmes, please contact Laura Phelps-Naqvi on 01625 508100 or email laura@wickland-westcott.email.


Quality Compliance Manager

Quality Compliance Manager

Our client is a northern based private education provider with a track record of delivering bespoke higher education programmes.  The Higher Education and Research Act 2017 brought substantive changes to the Higher Education Regulatory Framework in England. Our client wanted to capitalise on this opportunity and register with the Office for Students (OfS) as a new provider. 

Initial advisory work was quickly followed by a targeted search to find an experienced manager who could lead the registration application process. The candidate would also support the company build its governance and management process to meet the regulatory framework for academic quality and standards. We utilised our extensive network of Higher Education contacts and Interim Education Managers to deliver a shortlist of four candidates.  The client was presented with a diverse range of candidate profiles, skills and experience. Working with and advising the client we were able to build a cost-effective package of support for them. This included securing an experienced manager with significant QA experience from the University sector, and a support package that included strategic advice and guidance provided by the Head of our Education practice. 

We look forward to them securing registration from OfS as a new provider during 2018/19. 

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.


Managing Director / Head of Learning and Innovation

Managing Director / Head of Learning and Innovation

Wickland Westcott has been providing interim management solutions to its clients for over 6 years and, at the start of this year, set up a specialist interim division to complement the executive search and leadership development services provided to clients in the education sector.

When the Managing Director of a major college in the North West contacted us as he had a need to engage two interim Bid Managers to work with his existing bid team on an important tender they were putting together to deliver training to a key public sector client. It was a complicated bid with constantly changing goalposts and the MD was concerned that he did not have the internal resources necessary to put together the most effective proposal, particularly given the college’s strength and experience in this area and the value of the bid. Within less than a week, Wickland Westcott provided a number of high quality, immediately available interims for him to review and they were able to take on two very experienced, locally based Bid Managers, with highly relevant sector experience, to enable them to successfully hit the bid deadline.
 
Following on from this the same college had a further requirement for interim support in the position of Head of Learning and Innovation for a new team. This was a difficult role, comprising of two distinct areas: the development of a relevant  technology platform to deliver the training, and the development and design of new curriculum areas using a Moodle-based Virtual Learning Environment. As it proved to be extremely difficult to find one person equally competent in these two areas, Wickland Westcott managed to identify two individuals who were strong in the two different areas and who were prepared to each work 2 to 3 days per week, ensuring that our client could grow the learning technology team effectively and deliver the platform needed within budget and to timescales.

The MD provided the following quote:
 
"Wickland Westcott’s interim management team have consistently provided a high quality service and have taken time out to meet with me and get a full understanding of what I need in an interim manager to grow the business and achieve targets and goals. They have an excellent network of high quality interims and always manage to identify an excellent fit, even when the brief is extremely tough and timescales are short."

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.


Chief Executive Officer

Chief Executive Officer

We supported a northern-based College Group to secure its first CEO. The College Group was keen to widen its potential candidate pool to consider talent from inside and outside the education sector. It recognised that the shift in governance and commercial requirements taking place within education required fresh leadership thinking. 

We used our considerable experience of psychometric testing to evaluate shortlisted candidates. We evaluated candidate suitability in terms of technical ability and cultural fit using a range of psychometric tools.  

Each shortlisted candidate undertook an on-line personality (Credo) test and a Test of managerial judgment.  Each candidate then received a 1 hour telephone interview to discuss and verify the outputs from the psychometrics. We were then able to advise the final selection panel on themes and individual questions to explore in interview with each individual candidate. Our advice was shared with the panel in person at the final selection event. The client appointed a candidate from outside the education sector, although they had gained significant education experience as a NED and Governor of a post-92 University.  The psychometric profiling supported the other elements within the selection process, that demonstrated that the shortlist offered appointable candidates whose experience was gained from beyond the education sector. 

At Wickland Westcott we pride ourselves on delivering a positive candidate experience. Feedback to candidates underpin this.  For each candidate was provided with copies of their psychometric tests and a personal debrief. Our Candidate NPS score currently stands at +75.  


Human Resources Director

Human Resources Director

We supported a Midlands-based University to secure a Director of Human Resources. The University was keen to widen its potential candidate pool to consider talent from inside and outside the sector. 
 
We used our considerable experience of psychometric testing to evaluate six shortlisted candidates. We evaluated candidate suitability in terms of technical ability and cultural fit using a range of psychometric tools.  Each shortlisted candidate undertook an on-line personality (Credo) test and a Test of Managerial Judgment. Individual candidates then received a one hour telephone interview to discuss and verify the outputs from the psychometrics. We were then able to advise the final selection panel on themes and individual questions to explore at interview with each individual candidate. Our advice was shared with the panel in person at the final selection event. To ensure delivery of a positive candidate experience, feedback was provided at the end of the process, with each candidate being provided with copies of their psychometric tests and a personal de-brief. 
 
Although the client appointed a candidate from within the education sector, the psychometric testing supported the other elements within the selection process. This demonstrated that the shortlist offered appointable candidates whose experience was gained from beyond the education sector. 

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.


Head of Business Engagement

Head of Business Engagement

Our client, a northern based, Russell Group university was looking for an experienced individual with the ability to bridge the gap between academia and industry. The role would build upon the already well established function to deliver innovative knowledge exchange and technology transfer and would develop both strategic and operational relationships with key partner organisations in a changing environment.

Finding a credible individual with the necessary skills to be able to understand world-class research that is undertaken across a wide range of disciplines in a large research-intensive University is often a challenge in its own right. We looked beyond traditional search pools to secure a unique candidate who could engage academic researchers and industrial R&D managers alike and had a track record of commercialising and transferring leading edge research. A key requirement of our Client was the individual’s ability to operate at a senior level to establish delivery of new sustainable income streams.

The successful candidate was secured after an extensive search campaign. We spent time working with the University to ensure there was both disciplinary and cultural fit. Sourced from outside the education sector, the appointed candidate offered experience acquired from working in a multi-national corporate (pharma industry) in roles which engaged universities in research and development activities.

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.


Chief Executive

Chief Executive

Our client is a Midlands based education provider with 11,000 learners. The college offers a vocational curriculum and was going through a period of change and growth. To lead the organisation through this period they sought a new Chief Executive.

Wickland Westcott undertook a targeted search and advertisement campaign to secure a candidate who would be responsible for leading the business during a time of significant change and increased competition across the education sector. Our client needed a leader who could establish strategic relationships and evolve existing collaborations to drive success within the business, enhance learner experience and ensure that local employers had access to a highly skilled workforce. The client was also seeking a leader who would be able to transform the organisational culture to deliver customer service excellence. Whilst professional credibility and strategic flair was needed, the candidate’s ability to inspire others was considered paramount.

A successful candidate was found from outside the education sector. An established track record of partnership working with different education providers and other funding organisations supported their transition into this leadership role. They brought strong financial and commercial acumen, having worked previously in CFO and COO roles within commercial and public sector settings and was a differentiator with other candidates. Our Client’s journey to become a top 10 provider continues with pace!

Wickland Westcott have adopted the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms which, amongst other things, sets a minimum expectation level for gender diversity for each search assignment.